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Old 08-03-2018, 08:04 AM   #1
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Default Ever been infantilized?

You know how I've posted before about the "identified patient" game that family used to play with me. The life script they have written for me seems to be that I am disabled and incapable, possibly even mentally challenged. I had an aunt who fit that description, and was often compared to her. Also, I wasn't taught to drive until later in life, because for whatever reason, it was just assumed I couldn't learn.

Well, I just saw a photo online of an adult tricycle (meant for elderly people) and my mind flashed back to my first marriage. A member of our church had an adult tricycle for sale, and my then-husband actually considered buying it for me. He didn't end up buying it, but he was seriously looking into it. Easier and less expensive than teaching me to drive, I suppose? What strikes me as odd--then and now--is that I was in my early twenties. Even glossing over the driving issue, I knew how to ride a bicycle, and I was healthy and able-bodied at the time. What made him think a tricycle would be the appropriate mode of transportation for me?

My suspicion is that it played along with the life-script. He wanted me on a tricycle, not on a bicycle and certainly not in a car, because it confirmed his mental image of me having something wrong with me. He wanted to see me as childish in some way, and therefore less than him. That's my theory, anyway.

And I think it would be the same way with my mother, who at about the same time period had a tendency to want to dress me in rompers and shortalls.

I think I'll always wonder why they had so much invested in the notion that I'm somehow defective, but I don't believe I'll ever know.
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Old 10-09-2018, 11:58 AM   #2
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I realize now that some of my family members see me as vulnerable and weak. Perhaps this is due to my struggles with MI and partly because of my grandmother treating me that way (which has influenced them I think). I've struggled with the trauma for years (just now realizing it) so I did seem weak, and as my grandmother said, "made myself a victim" (which I now know is learned helplessness due to trauma). I'm also a kindhearted person and cry from stress sometimes. There seems to be no room for criers in this family.

So, I see that particularly my grandmother and brother treat me like a child who doesn't know any better. I'm brought back to a particular moment. I moved out of my grandmother's place recently.

It doesn't help that one minute I just need to get a backbone and the other minute I'm unstable in my grandmother's opinion. But, I guess my brother thinks I'm a helpless child as well. Yes, I'm a bit naive to the world (why that is could probably fill up a book lol), but as if I was a five year old having to be told not to talk to strangers my brother actually warned me about world's dangers before I moved out.

Okay fair enough. But did he really have to tell me-a woman of almost 30 years old-to not allow strangers into my place, don't follow strangers into their apartments, stay away from drugs, and not to follow anybody anywhere? Like really? Do you really believe I'm that gullible? I'm NOT five years old! Why would I ever do that? Oy.
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Old 10-09-2018, 03:22 PM   #3
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Hello,

I definitely relate to this a bit. One thing that bothers me is when people call me by my name and add a "y" at the end. I won't share my name, but for example, say my name is Chris. In my case people would call me Chrissy; totally a product of seeing me as naive and passive and younger. This is invalidating and totally inappropriate. I definitely have started to challenge this notion more and more. There was a time when I was extremely regressed in life, living at my parents place in my twenties without any direction in the world where it seemed more appropriate, but now it doesn't make much sense. I still regress and feel younger but I don't think it's so obvious.

I have heard that abusive parents are likely to infantilize their children whom they dependent on. Like the Mother who says she doesn't need her child around anymore but secretly does. It's a subtle form of abuse that keeps their child dependent on her mother so as to meet the mother's unconscious fears of being alone and feeling needed. Unfortunately this is common in abusive relationships and abusive homes. It can literally keep someone from getting away and gaining the skills needed to survive in the world.

I think this is an important issue and I am interested to see what others have to say.

Thanks,
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Old 10-09-2018, 04:17 PM   #4
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If I lived my life my mother's way, I definitely wouldn't be married to my husband now. (Ten years and counting. We're renewing our vows next month.) Why wouldn't I? Because I had to move thousands of miles away to make it possible. And if she had it her way, I'd still be living with her. Being told what time to go to bed. Being called awake in the morning. Being told where I may and may not go during the day, and being assigned chores around the house. Eating only the foods that she shops for and cooks, when she decides it's meal time. Even having her hold my hand when we cross the street.

I'm 54.
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Old 10-09-2018, 04:23 PM   #5
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Yes, I think itís a common thing that abusive parents do to their children to keep them under their control.

Found this link : Infantilization ó Out of the FOG

Itís not only happens from abusive parents to their children I think. Some kind of infantilization also happens from adult abusers to their adult victims, the main idea is the same, to have everything under their control.
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Old 10-09-2018, 05:40 PM   #6
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Definitely. My parents never wanted me to grow up. Yes, it's definitely a control issue.
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Old 10-09-2018, 06:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HD7970GHZ View Post
Hello,

I definitely relate to this a bit. One thing that bothers me is when people call me by my name and add a "y" at the end. I won't share my name, but for example, say my name is Chris. In my case people would call me Chrissy; totally a product of seeing me as naive and passive and younger. This is invalidating and totally inappropriate. I definitely have started to challenge this notion more and more. There was a time when I was extremely regressed in life, living at my parents place in my twenties without any direction in the world where it seemed more appropriate, but now it doesn't make much sense. I still regress and feel younger but I don't think it's so obvious.

I have heard that abusive parents are likely to infantilize their children whom they dependent on. Like the Mother who says she doesn't need her child around anymore but secretly does. It's a subtle form of abuse that keeps their child dependent on her mother so as to meet the mother's unconscious fears of being alone and feeling needed. Unfortunately this is common in abusive relationships and abusive homes. It can literally keep someone from getting away and gaining the skills needed to survive in the world.

I think this is an important issue and I am interested to see what others have to say.

Thanks,
HD7970ghz
Oh wow! Everything you talked about here in your second paragraph is true for me (at least that's what my family and I think). I believe with everything in me that my grandmother needs help (which is obvious to anyone). However, instead of asking for help she was determined to bully me into staying with her and not just just ask for the help she needs.

I told the people helping me to get free from her that I'm literally like a very responsible child in an adult body.

Pete Walker in his book Surviving to Thriving shares an example that sounds just like me. He writes, "...Synchronistically, his mother realized she was getting old...Not wanting to be alone, she exploited his compassionate nature and primed him for domestic service for as long as she would need it. Sean remained living at home until his mother's death released him from emotional captivity at the age of twenty-nine. This was the codependent enslavement that we'll explore more in chapter 7..."

When I tell you that I was so regressed that I could see no way to live without my grandmother I meant it. Now, I realize she played on my struggles with MI to get out of me what she wanted. She pretty much became an invalid because I did everything, but she would tell everyone that I was too unstable to take care of anything (especially when I was breaking free of her). She also guilt tripped me (as dysfunctional families do) by bringing up what I was supposed to do for family. Her favorite complaint whenever I dared to speak up was, "After everything I've done for you!"

We literally got into an argument a few months back and she literally got in my face like she was going to hit me because I dared to assert myself.
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